The game rapidly slipping away, Hillman had no choice but to bring in Ramirez and get Soria ready, too.
“It’s a situation where you hope you don’t have to do something like that,” Hillman said. “We shouldn’t be in that position. We should pitch better, especially with the lead that we had, but thankfully he was OK and came in and got it done for us.”
Kansas City won the first game 5-4 in 10 innings and seemed to be rolling toward a three-game sweep of the series between two of the AL’s worst teams, jumping out to a 9-1 lead in the nightcap.
Then Oakland started chipping away, scoring three in the seventh inning and another in the ninth after Kip Wells walked the first two batters.
Soria (2-3) pitched two innings to get the win in the opener, so Hillman was reluctant to even warm him up. Ramirez pitched a scoreless eighth in that game, but told pitching coach Bob McClure he felt good enough to pitch again.
Hillman took a chance and Ramirez responded by getting the final three outs, allowing a run on a groundout by Daric Barton.
Kansas City finished with 15 hits in the second game and set a team record by using nine different pitchers in the doubleheader.
“(I’m) a little tired, but it’s good,” Ramirez said. “I just tried keeping my ball down no matter what.”
Kansas City’s David DeJesus had three hits in each game of the doubleheader and scored three times on the day. Billy Butler extended his hitting streak to 10 games with three doubles, including one that drove in two of the Royals’ four runs in the third inning of the first game.
Oakland rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the first game and tried to come back from eight down in the second, only to continue its free fall in the standings. The A’s were four games behind AL West-leading Los Angeles on July 11 and have lost 35 of 47 since, dropping 22 1/2 games behind the Angels.
“Losing two games is disappointing,” manager Bob Geren said. “We got some runs in the second game, but gave up a lot of hits on poor locations.”
The remnants of Hurricane Gustav washed out Wednesday’s game, forcing Oakland to play its first doubleheader since being swept in Kansas City on Aug. 18, 2006.
It was another sweep, though not many people made it to the first game.
A 4:10 p.m. start, continued cool weather and two teams a combined 33 games under .500 made for a crowd better suited for a rec league softball game, with a few hundred fans scattered around 38,030-seat Kauffman Stadium for the first pitch.
Kansas City starter Brian Bannister lost a 4-0 lead in that game, giving up three unearned runs in the fifth after shortstop Mike Aviles mishandled a grounder, then a leadoff homer to Daric Barton in the sixth.
The Royals got off to another fast start in the second game, scoring four in the first against Dan Meyer (0-4), another in the third, and two more in the fourth on consecutive run-scoring triples by Esteban German and Aviles. Guillen followed with an RBI single off Kirk Saarloos to put Kansas City up 8-1, his broken bat sailing nearly as far as the ball into shallow left field.
Kyle Davies (6-6) didn’t have the same trouble Bannister faced. The right-hander allowed three hits in five innings, limiting Oakland to Ryan Sweeney’s RBI double in the third and ending a four-game losing streak.
“A sweep at any point in the season is good, even if it’s building toward other things,” Butler said. “We had a good day today and that’s the way we want to play. Hopefully, we can do that every day.”
The A’s got a decent start in the first game from Dana Eveland, who had one bad inning and didn’t walk anyone in six innings after issuing 21 free passes his previous seven starts.
Meyer wasn’t nearly as sharp.
The left-hander never really recovered after Kansas City’s big first inning, allowing seven earned runs—eight total—in 3 1-3 innings for his fourth straight loss as a starter.
“When I get in trouble, my ball tends to get up in the zone,” Meyer said. “I’m not executing pitches and at this level it hurts you.”
Kansas City’s Miguel Olivo was 2-for-4 in the first game to end an 0-for-12 streak. … Oakland had a pickoff in both games and has 31 this season, topping the 2004 franchise record by two. … Mike Sweeney was 0-for-5 in Game 1, his first as a visiting player at Kauffman after spending 11 1/2 seasons with the Royals. He didn’t appear in the second game.